"Call of the Evening Skies"
As the sun set last evening, I sat inside my house, and suddenly I felt a powerful urge to go outside.
So, I went out to the front of my Desert Retreat House which faces west, and there over the mountains was a stunning, breathtakingly beautiful vision of the desert skies at sunset. As I stood gazing into those skies, I could almost feel some sort of physical, magnetic tug inside me pulling me to come out. It was a moment of sacred connection.
This morning I keep thinking about that magnetic moment last evening. It gave me a whole new flash of insight about what happens whenever I encounter "beauty" in my desert home.
Gazing into picture-perfect desert skies at sunset, awakening to the pristine morning sun, looking up into the night skies glowing with indescribable cosmic brightness - these are all moments of spiritual magnetism. In all these cases, the beauty I encounter is not something "out there" to be appreciated at a distance. Rather these are all sacred magnetic moments in which something "in me" is being pulled out of me by a force and a power that is greater than me.
It also strikes me that encounters with other people can be magnetic moments.
At various times I have heard people refer to someone as having a "magnetic" personality. People talk about how they feel "drawn" to charismatic figures and dynamic speakers.
I actually think that there are two types of magnetic encounters with other people.
In one case a "charismatic" person with a "magnetic personality" draws others to him/her "self." This is an ego-based kind of magnetism and may often be a symptom of narcissism.
Cult heroes, Hollywood personalities, a glib preacher, that good-looking fellow worker or fellow student whom everyone adulates because he or she has such nice teeth and has such a way with words - all magnetic personalities; however, the force of their magnetic personality is inward. Other people are sucked into feeding the ego of this kind of magnetic personality.
The other type of magnetic personality and magnetic encounter is non-egoic. This type of "charismatic," magnetic person uses his or her gifts to pull the "best" out of others.
Yesterday as I thought about the death of the legendary "folk hero," Pete Seeger, it struck me that he was a perfect example of one of these kinds of magnetic personalities that pulled the best out of others.
Pete Seeger was hardly a charismatic Hollywood type of pop singer. He wasn't beautiful. His voice was not all that great - kind of gravelly and sort of harsh, especially in his old age. And yet people were drawn to him like a magnet. Yesterday the Twitter feed hummed all day in his tribute, so did the news reports and the papers.
Mr. Seeger once said, "I do not sing to put a song into people's ears, I sing to put a song in their mouths." This one little statement says it all for me. He didn't sing so that people would listen to his golden tones or marvel at his sleek choreography. Instead, banjo in hand, he sang simple songs that everyone could sing. He sang in order to get people to sing along with him.
I once went to one of his concerts. During the middle of a song, he just stopped playing and stopped singing, grinning from ear to ear as the audience enthusiastically continued in singing the tune he had taught them. He was such a magnetic personality.
This morning I think about yesterday's magnetic moment at eventide when I was called outside - where the power of a beauty beyond me pulled out the beauty that was in me. This morning I also think about people like Pete Seeger and his magnetic personality, calling out the best in others.
I realize that the practice of spiritual magnetism is in fact a spiritual discipline that I am also called to practice on my own journey.
When I intentionally use the gifts I have, not to draw others to "me," but to call the best out of others, I am practicing that discipline of spiritual magnetism.
And when I pull out the best in others, I am an instrument of that cosmic, greater power, that Holy Presence who is always calling us out of our ego-self, out of the darkness into the light.